Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme

Attorney General – in the House of Commons on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Marco Longhi Marco Longhi Conservative, Dudley North

What recent sentences she has extended through the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

The scheme has had a number of recent successes. I am pleased to inform the House of two in particular. A recent case dealt with horrific offending concerning streaming child sexual abuse images online. The offender’s sentence was increased from one year and eight months’ imprisonment to four years’ imprisonment after I referred it. That was the first increase since that particular offence was brought within the scheme. In addition, I personally went to court to present the first controlling and coercive unduly lenient sentence. The sentence was increased from a two-year community order to three years’ immediate imprisonment.

Photo of Marco Longhi Marco Longhi Conservative, Dudley North

Does the Solicitor General recognise the importance of the fact that the punishment must fit the crime, for public confidence and also for my Dudley constituents?

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to speak up for his constituents in Dudley on this matter. Public confidence in sentencing is crucial, and I am delighted to say that the general public do have and should have confidence in sentencing. The reality is that a very tiny fraction—far less than 1%—has to be referred to the Court of Appeal for a review of sentence for undue leniency. In his area, he might be interested to know of a case where a sentence of two and a half years for possession of a sawn-off shotgun and other material was increased to five years when it was referred by me for a review.